Happy Place: The Irish Snug, 1201 East Colfax Avenue, 303-839-1394
The Hours: Daily from 3 to 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. to midnight.
The Deals: Two-for-one draft beers, well drinks, and house wines by the glass; $3.95-$4.95 appetizer specials.
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The Digs: Whatever they're doing at The Irish Snug, they're doing it right. This Cap Hill Irish pub is always packed to the rafters -- day or night -- with jolly folk drinking beer and noshing on bar food. The patio overflows in the summertime, and even a light rainfall didn't deter its occupants on our visit. The interior boasts two bars and plenty of seating, although by the time happy hour is in full swing, you may find yourself standing. This watering hole also features Under the Snug, a basement speakeasy-meets-living-room where large leather couches provide a comforting oasis for enjoying happy hour (and live music, if you plan it right).
The Verdict: Call it happy hour sociology: In our years of rushing to the nearest bar to tip back pints as soon as the office bell rings, we've discovered that we're far more inclined to brush off our plans for the entire evening if it looks like everyone else around us has decided to do the same thing -- an we're much less likely to head home after one or two drinks if there's good people-watching and good food in front of us; throw in a patio and forget about it. And there's more opportunity for trouble: Once happy hour ends, the Snug offers car bombs at four bucks a pop; inthe wintertime, it hustles the same special on Irish coffee if there's snow on the ground. Wowsers.
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The food isn't half-bad, either. In honor of the Irish, we sampled the corned beef egg rolls, Essentially a Reuben egg roll, these tasty buggers go down easy with a swig of Guinness. Our only complaint was that the mustard dipping sauce ate like straight vinegar. Ick. The mini Caesar rolls -- chicken Caesar salad wrapped in a soft tortilla -- were delicious and filling (and not particularly "mini" if you ask us). The bar menu also features burgers and tacos, in addition to other standard pub eats. Unfortunately, the service blew a big one on our visit, and we found ourselves sitting with empty beers and no water for long stretches of time. Still, the Irish Snug remains a staple on our happy hour list, especially if the sun is shining.
Overall Grade: B+